Whether we are talking about curricular or co-curricular programs, excellence is the word that governs the planning and teaching at Avenor. Our teachers are always looking for the best teaching strategies, the most interesting and newest educational resources, the most interesting case studies so that students always feel challenged, interested in learning and involved in the process.

Several Avenor teachers have responded positively to the invitation to tell us about themselves and their approach to the preparation and delivery of the subjects they teach, so that we have a clearer picture of what learning at the highest level means.


I originate from the north of England and began my teaching career 25 years ago in a primary school and then made the move to specialise in an all age special school where I was head of music and drama. Over the years I have written and produced dozens of plays and musicals for pupils of all ages and given them the opportunity to perform. It was at this time that I incorporated my love for drama as an art form and as a dynamic teaching tool and during my time there the school established itself as a beacon for the arts. In fact during the Summer term our annual production included the entire school – including the teachers! It was always eagerly attended by the local community.

Teaching drama has two components, each equally important. Firstly it is an art form in its own right and instils an understanding and love for the dramatic arts at an early life. It enriches a child’s life and, as in my case, leads to a lifelong love of the performing arts both as a spectator and sometimes a performer. The second is the use of drama as a teaching tool. Drama in the classroom in its simplest form is ‘learning through imagined experience’. I see drama developing a young person’s ability to empathise and understand their place in the world. They learn to understand the past and problem solve. Drama strengthens relationships, social communication skills as well as critical thinking. An outstanding drama lesson in my view should be one where the students are inspired and motivated and above all be challenged in a safe environment. Although every lesson begins with a clear plan, often it can develop in a very different way than was originally planned due to the creativity and motivation of the pupils. The pupils should be interacting with each other actively, not just the teacher. I feel drama is a lesson in which pupils should be able to take risks in a totally safe environment. 

A good drama teacher should know when to intervene in the learning and when to let them take charge. They should be confident to explain why they have made the choices they have. They should be able to reflect on their own work and progress and also take pride in it . I often let the student lead the learning using structured role play. I try to model good practice in my lessons by engaging in their dramas and pupils see me in a variety of roles and I usually find this leads to excellent relationships in the classroom. I think it is important for me to be a positive, approachable role model for my pupils with clear expectations of discipline and mutual respect. 

Finally I know from my own experiences of speaking to ex pupils that the memory of a positive experience of either performing publicly or an exciting drama lesson can last a very long time and overall makes a young person feel like an intrinsic part of a community who values and accepts them. 


Our current landscape is becoming increasingly digital and it is important to learn about how this affects our lives, whether this is through the manipulation of advertising messages, staying safe in an online environment, or learning the impact of moving our social interactions online. 

What is being presented to students through the study of media is how to learn to decipher the messages that we are being sent via film, television, news, online media, video games and more. Alongside this insight students also learn how to construct media products from the stages of research and planning through to production and editing, developing technical skills that are becoming increasingly relevant in many industries. 

The ideal media student should be innovative, curious, academic, analytical and creative. If you are undecided whether Media Studies is right for you, consider how much media you usually digest in just one day. Are you curious as to how this media is created and by who, for what purpose? 

At Avenor there are so many excellent student led projects that incorporate and develop students’ use of technology. I see the impact of media studies everywhere in the school. Students are utilising skills in marketing, branding and production within other projects such as the Avenor Entrepreneurship Challenge where the 9th grade students had as their theme “Create a healthy and natural product for breakfast“. 45 students distributed in 9 teams presented their products created entirely by themselves in front of a jury, starting from market research, continuing with marketing campaigns to product and packaging design.

The ideal Media Studies lesson is a collaboration between teacher and students. The teacher provides the tools for learning and understanding whilst the students use their creativity and curiosity to debate and discuss key concepts such as the impact of technologies such as social media on our day to day lives, or how entertainment and news media represent social problems. Students engage with ever changing environments and discuss up to date case studies relevant to the culture we live in. In a production lesson Media Studies should nurture creativity and innovation, leading students to develop new and original projects through idea generation, scripting, storyboarding and experimenting with photography, filmmaking and editing to see the ideas come to fruition. 

Whether you want to be the next Scorsese or CEO of your own business, work in marketing and communications or the theatre, Media Studies provides valuable skills across all areas, allowing you to demonstrate your academic prowess alongside your creative talents. 


Growing up I did not have particularly strong roots with any culture or place. I had an appreciation for my Romanian background, I felt immersed in Scottish culture, and I felt privileged to be in a very diverse and multicultural school and community. These aspects remained part of my life throughout my education and informed my decision to pursue a career internationally. As a teacher who encounters a lot of students for whom English is an additional language, I place particular emphasis on literacy as this is often the key to achieving success in essay-based subjects like A level History.

There is an ongoing debate about the role of patriotism in the history classroom. While I think it’s important for young people to develop a love and appreciation for their culture, traditions, and country, I think this should happen through citizenship education. The role of a history teacher is not to nurture patriotism (although this may be a byproduct of studying history), but to inspire a love for the study of history, encourage young historians to think critically with historical knowledge, engage with the work of published historians, and explore their local history. Sometimes that involves grappling with negative episodes in our past and understanding their origins, significance, and consequences. By the end of high school, I hope students of history begin to realise that history is a construct: the past leaves us with traces, clues, and insight which historians must interpret and piece together to form a narrative of events. They should be able to recognise the differences between historians, their approach to historians and the limitations of their interpretations. Ultimately, I think that’s what makes history so exciting – it’s investigative journalism of the past!

The best history lessons are the ones led by students: they’re the lessons where students lead a seminar discussion or present their research; they’re the lessons where students come prepared for a heated debate about whether Nicholas II or Louis XVI were responsible for their downfall; they’re the lessons we have outside of school, when we’re visiting historical sites and the students are the ones asking our guides questions. So what’s the role of the teacher in all this? Primarily, it’s to facilitate these opportunities for students to take ownership over their learning. Secondly, it’s to equip students with the resources they may need and to ensure there is ample choice of resources. Some days are less exciting and we also have to focus on activities such as building structured notes or planning past paper questions, but even these days serve to give students the foundation to freely explore history beyond the curriculum.


As an educator I pride myself on my being the best at getting better. I am resilient and committed to continual development. I have always had a keen interest in the psychology behind learning and how the brain makes long term connections through constructive teaching and learning and positive behavioural management. My current focus for research and professional development is in metacognition, which I have seen have a dramatic effect on students’ progress and wellbeing. 

My teaching ethos is simple: well being. By creating a safe, stable and supportive learning environment students are able to openly make mistakes, reflect and identify how they can move forward. This approach to learning is applicable academically, socially and internationally. 

During my teaching career, I have been fortunate to teach in four different countries: England, Thailand, Brazil and Romania. Having exposure to a variety of global curriculums and cultures has enriched my skills and perspectives. One constant that I have encountered across the schools I have worked in, is how valuable thematic, inquiry-based, project-based learning is to the students.

Inquiry and project-based learning allow for students to become engaged and enthusiastic in their learning and progress, as it provides them with a platform to showcase their interests with pride:  project-based learning gives the students agency to become independent, confident, life-long learners. 

When developing a project-based curriculum, it is important to establish specific lines of inquiry which allow for the students to construct their own focus of interest. As a trained inquiry facilitator, I carefully plan projects to engage the students; giving them the structure to stay focussed whilst allowing for them to explore within their own curiosities. 

Project -based learning not only allows for students to have ownership of their learning but it also teaches valuable skills. It teaches them to have responsibility for their learning and pride in what they produce. I have seen this evidenced through many projects that I have planned and coordinated. 

The benefits of project-based learning are countless, but, to summarise, I would categorise the benefits into three subheadings: responsibility, motivation and life-long skills. As a teacher and coordinator, these are values I hold at the centre of my personal pedagogy. Through creative and well-informed planning, I ensure the students are enthusiastic and eager to learn, discover and take action. I believe each year has its own unique part to play in each child’s education and planning should therefore be kept fresh, current and evaluated regularly to ensure the students maxim learning potential is met. 


Starting my career with the Teach First Leadership Development Programme was certainly a baptism of fire. The programme is a charitable organisation which highlights the differences in outcomes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds and seeks to close this gap by employing graduates from top universities around the UK and placing them in schools in low income areas. In practice, this meant a 6 week summer residential programme followed by being placed in a classroom in front of 30 students who have not always had the best relationship with the education system. During the following two years, I was able to develop my teaching practice and theoretical pedagogy both in the classroom and by completing my qualifications at university. Although these experiences were tough, they certainly shaped me as an educator. I found that in the face of poor behaviour and a severe lack of motivation, building positive relationships with students was key to developing them as mathematicians and all-round students.  

Teaching in international schools around the world meant a change in the background of the students in my classroom but the idea of building a positive relationship with them remained a core pillar of my teaching philosophy. The challenge was now less about implementing behaviour strategies but rather seeking strategies to ensure that all students could reach their potential.  

Even for motivated international school students, mathematics can often be a daunting subject. However, if students feel that they are making progress then they often start to see the subject in a much better light. Therefore, whether students are naturally gifted mathematicians or not, it is important that in each lesson they can pinpoint the skills that they previously could not do, but now can. In this way all students are made to feel successful even though their outcomes may be different.

One of the key features of teaching maths at Avenor is how we look to challenge the highly able mathematicians that we have. For these students mathematical processes can come easily but they often struggle applying them to real world situations or more complex problems. It is therefore important to model strategies and encourage resilience when faced with tough situations. Working in small groups also helps them develop their understanding as they are made to clearly explain their theories and methods to others. As a teacher, it is my role to facilitate this process with questions rather than provide answers when students are struggling.

When combined, building a positive relationship with students and ensuring that they are sufficiently challenged builds an environment which allows them to maximise their potential and flourish as mathematicians.